As you head further into the year, are you aware that World No Tobacco Day is right around the corner on May 31st?
Whether you are a tobacco user or know one, this day is the day selected by the World Health Organisation to recognise the harmful impact that tobacco consumption can have on your life, the lives of your loved ones and acquaintances, and from the perspective of Thornton Dental: On your oral health!
It is, of course, a good to remember that the use of any tobacco product can lead to severe problems for your mouth and smile.
So, if you’re one of those people who may have made a New Year’s resolution to quit tobacco use and fallen off the wagon, you’re a tobacco user who just wants to quit, or you know and love a tobacco user, let’s take a look at some oral-health-related reasons to quit on this year’s World No Tobacco Day.
How Does Smoking Harm My Oral Health?
Stains and discolouration. Tobacco has two effects. One is direct staining from the tobacco products, and the other is reduced ability to remove staining items from the mouth.
Bad breath, or Smoker’s breath. Once again, there are two effects. The first is the ashtray smell caused by the smoke itself.
The second is systemic damage done to gums and teeth by the chemicals and toxins in tobacco.
Teeth wear down faster. Chewing tobacco, cigars snuff and unprocessed tobacco leaves (used as cigar wrappers) contain tiny particles from the soil they were grown in.
When this grit is chewed and mixed with saliva, an abrasive paste results that erodes teeth over time.
Fewer dental treatments are available. Smoking reduces blood flow; at the same time, it increases inflammation and bacteria production.
This can make it difficult or impossible to replace lost teeth.
Gum disease is harder to treat. Smoking slows your immune system, so if you are a smoker, it can be challenging to fight the problems related to gum disease.
Smoking also stunts the growth of blood vessels, retarding the healing of gum tissue after injury or oral surgery.
Higher risk for other dental problems. Smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease as non-smokers.
Oral cancers. This is a big one. Tobacco users are six times more likely to get oral cancers, and 80 per cent of those who have oral cancer have used tobacco products.
The good news is that as soon as you quit, your risk of cancer begins to drop back towards that of non-smokers, meeting it somewhere between ten and twenty years later.
What About Chewing Tobacco?
Smokeless tobacco (also known as snuff or chew) contributes to causing cancer of the lip, mouth, and tongue.
This is because smokeless tobacco products, similar to cigarettes, contain cancer-causing chemicals. In this case, nearly 30 of them have been identified.
A few of the other known health dangers include:
- Increased risk of tooth decay, particularly if sugar is added to enhance the flavour of smokeless tobacco.
- Risk for cancer beyond the mouth, including the voice box, esophagus, colon, and bladder because toxins in the gooey liquid created by chewing can be swallowed.
- Tooth sensitivity and erosion due to grit in smokeless tobacco wearing down teeth.
What Can Be Done?
Stop using tobacco. This is obvious and most important.
The moment you stop using tobacco products, your chances of developing traumatic issues from tobacco usage begin to increase.
For some problems (reduced ability to smell), the healing can be apparent in as soon as 48 hours!
What can the Thornton Dental team do for me?
Thornton Dental will carry out a regular examination to make sure that your teeth, gums and entire mouth are healthy, with strong teeth as well.
- We will also examine your cheeks, tongue and throat for any signs of other conditions that may need more investigation. Be sure to tell us if you use tobacco so that we can conduct a particularly thorough screening for cancer.
- We are also able to put you in touch with organisations and groups who have the latest information and techniques to help you stop smoking.
- We will be able to advise you on how often you should visit us. We usually recommend seeing tobacco users more frequently.
Why Choose Thornton Dental?
We make dentistry affordable without sacrificing the quality of care.
- We focus on patient care
- Exceptional infection control
- Friendly, approachable and experienced team
- Child-friendly and relaxing environment
- Patient comfort, safety, and satisfaction are our primary goals
- Customised care tailored to your particular needs
- high standards, integrity, premium quality materials
- Pain management and anxiety control